Friday, January. 24, 2003

Spectacle reigns in Challenge works
By Edward J. Sozanski
Inquirer Art Critic

Imported videos. The Project Room nearly closed last year, but director Kait Midgett not only changed her mind, she decided to initiate curated shows in the space, which had been devoted to installations by invited artists.

"Video Holiday" is one of the new breed. It's a program, roughly 40 minutes long, of six videos by artists from Chicago and Glasgow, Scotland, chosen by Chicago curator Tim Fleming.

The program contains a potpourri of styles, all engaging to some degree, in part because all but one of the pieces is too short to become tedious.

The longest, at 17 minutes, is the exception. It's a string of autobiographical sketches by two Canadian artists studying in Chicago, Cooper Battersby and Emily Vey Duke.

Their Rapt and Happy alternates jokey drawings with cinema verite snippets of unorthodox domestic life. The drawings compensate somewhat for the generally inane verite bits.

The most stimulating artist among the five is Glaswegian Katy Dove, who combines imaginatively spirited, abstract animation with contemporary music.

Her pieces, Melodia and Motorhead, look like animated watercolors that unfold before one's eyes. Using dissolves, branching, streaming dots and floating shapes, Dove suggests continuous creation and entropy. These pieces close the program, and they're worth the wait.

Project Room, 960 N. Eighth St. Noon to 5 p.m. Wednesdays and Thursdays. Through Jan. 30. 215-413-3101 or .

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